By ZACH BIRDSONG
With a 3-1 lead heading into the bottom of the sixth inning, Tullahoma put the game away by adding four runs in the frame, going on to defeat Coffee County 7-1 at home on Wednesday night.
Tullahoma and Coffee County were scheduled to play again on Thursday, this time in Manchester. However, due to weather that game has been postponed until Tuesday. First pitch is scheduled to take place at 6 p.m.
Madison Barnett delivered another strong performance in the circle for the Lady Wildcats against Coffee County. In the complete-game victory, the lefty allowed just one run on six hits and a walk while striking out three batters.
“She’s got where she has such command of those different curveballs,” said THS Head Coach Gary Barfield. “Sometimes those things will run for 12 to 18 inches and she can still throw them for a strike. She’ll throw a rise ball every now and then, and her changeup continues to get better. When she gets really consistent in throwing that changeup for a strike, I mean she’s tough now, but she’s going to be tough to beat.”
Barnett was helped out by her defense a couple of times, including on a game-changing save by center fielder Shyanne Sheffield in the top of the fifth inning. With Tullahoma in front 3-0, Coffee County loaded the bases with two outs in the frame.
Coffee County’s Raven Rogers got a hold of a pitch that looked destined to fall in the right-center field gap. However, Sheffield was able to get to that ball, stretching out and diving to keep the Lady Raiders off the scoreboard.
“It was a game-saver,” Barfield said. “She [Sheffield] does things that just amaze you. You go back over the four years and I wish that I had sat back and enjoyed watching her play more instead of coaching.
“I told the kids when they got them out in the inning, ‘You don’t realize it, but you don’t see this stuff in high school softball.’ I mean you just don’t see this stuff every day … That was the game-saver and she does something that every night that just amazes you.”
After having runners reach in both the second and third innings, Tullahoma was able to get on the scoreboard with a three runs in the bottom of the fourth. Demi Garner and Barnett led off the inning with back-to-back singles for the Lady Wildcats. Erin Douglas came in as the courtesy runner for Garner, while Staisha Sims came into run for Barnett.
Jenna Jones followed with a hard ground ball to first base and reached due to an error by Coffee County. Both Douglas and Sims were able to score on the same play, giving Tullahoma a 2-0 edge.
Lila Saunders followed by grounding into a fielder’s choice as Jones moved up to third base. Maggie Rambo grounded out in her at-bat, but Jones was able to score the third run of the inning.
Coffee County struck with a run in the top of the sixth inning, when Lauren Tomberlin doubled to start the frame. Tomberlin later scored after Shelby Scrivnor grounded into a fielder’s choice, cutting the score to 3-1.
Tullahoma countered with four runs in the bottom of the sixth to take a commanding 7-1 advantage. Rambo, Meghan Prosser and Sheffield all reached on one-out singles, loading the bases.
Rambo was able to score on an error in the next at-bat, while Prosser advanced to third base and Sheffield took second. Jessica Edde followed with a two-run double to center field that scored Prosser and Sheffield, making the score 6-1.
Two pitches later, Garner added an RBI double of her own to center field, plating Edde for the Lady Wildcats’ final run of the night.
Keri Munn led off the top of the seventh with a single for Coffee County. However, Barnett retired the final three Lady Raiders in order, as Tullahoma recorded the victory.
Munn also made the start in the circle for Coffee County, allowing seven runs, six of which were earned. She also surrendered eight hits and three walks while striking out six batters.
“Offensively we were locked in tonight,” Barfield said. “Their pitcher [Munn] did a good job, but we did a good job spoiling her pitches and we were able to hit the ball hard early right at people. They didn’t get down though and stayed with me. I told them that things were going to happen and they did.”
The Lady Wildcats are slated to host three-straight home games starting with Lincoln County on Friday at 6 p.m. Tullahoma will then take on Huntland on Saturday at 12 p.m. and host Lawrence County on Sunday at 3 p.m.